Winter is likely to offer little relief to the drought-stricken U.S. Southwest, and drought is likely to develop across parts of the Southeast as below-average precipitation is favored in these areas of the country, according to NOAA’s annual Winter Outlook recently announced.
The November 2013 Drought Outlook is based on initial conditions, short and medium range forecasts, updated monthly outlooks for temperature and precipitation, and climatology.
During late October, heavy rains ahead of a slow moving cold front fell across parts of south-central and southeastern Texas, causing localized flooding in Austin and regions just to the southwest. Widespread rainfall associated with the same storm system also overspread eastern Kansas, Missouri, southern Iowa, and northern Illinois, with accumulations of an inch or greater observed. Additional rainfall in these areas are expected during the first week of November, as ridging builds over the Southeast, promoting slow frontal passages as new mid-latitude storms develop across the Mississippi Valley. Therefore, drought improvement or removal is anticipated across south central and eastern Texas and along the middle and lower Mississippi Valley.
Further east, the ridging over the Southeast is forecast to prevent significant rainfall from reaching the Atlantic coast. Drought development is possible across parts of the Southeast, especially along the Savannah River basin, where 30-day percent of normal precipitation values are particularly low. Drought has also expanded across parts of the Northeast, and without a clear signal for wetness during the first half of November, persistence is anticipated. Uncertainty increases towards the end of the month, as coastal winter storms become more likely.
November is a climatologically dry time of year across the Plains and intermountain West, making drought persistence most probable.
Winter storm activity increases across the Pacific Northwest during late autumn, but sufficient precipitation to overcome current drought conditions is not likely to occur until later in the winter season, especially across California.
During the previous 30 days, below average rainfall was observed along most of the eastern seaboard and the Appalachians, promoting the expansion of abnormal dryness across the Northeast and parts of the southern Atlantic coastal plain. In contrast, several days of heavy rainfall over the Chesapeake watershed associated with a slow moving coastal storm caused localized flooding. Heavy rainfall also fell across much of Texas, the lower Mississippi Valley, and the Ohio Valley, resulting in drought improvement. Wet weather across the northwestern quadrant of the continental U.S. contrasted with mostly dry weather over the Southwest.
Additional short term drought improvement is possible for eastern and central Texas as a slow moving front brings additional widespread rainfall, although an anticipated seasonal tilt towards abnormal dryness supports drought persistence over the remainder of the Southern Plains.
Drought development is possible across much of the Southwest, while seasonable winter wetness may bring some relief to coastal California and the northern Rockies. Late fall and winter is climatologically dry across the Plains and Midwest, making significant improvements of lingering drought less likely. Incipient dryness across parts of the southern Atlantic coastal plain and enhanced chances of below median precipitation during the November through January period raise the potential for drought development.
NOAA recently issued its updated Atlantic hurricane season outlook saying the season is shaping up to be above normal with the possibility that it could be very active. The season has already produced four named storms, with the peak of the season – mid-August through October – yet to come.
According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous United States during March 2013 was 40.8°F, 0.9°F below the 20th century average.
It was the 43rd coolest March on record. Colder temperatures dominated east of the Rockies, and warm conditions prevailed in the West.
The western half of the continental U.S. and central and northern Alaska could be in for a warmer-than-average winter, while most of Florida might be colder-than-normal December through February, according to NOAA’s annual Winter Outlook recently announced.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season got off to a busy start, with 6 named storms, and may have a busy second half, according to the updated hurricane season outlook issued NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.
The updated outlook still indicates a 50 percent chance of a near-normal season, but increases the chance of an above-normal season to 35 percent and decreases the chance of a below-normal season to only 15 percent from the initial outlook issued in May.
According to the Midwest Climate Center, August 2012 brought relief to much of the Midwest region in the form of near-normal temperatures and much needed rainfall.
While August was not an extraordinarily warm month, the June through August summer season was above average in all nine states of the region.
Even with the cooler August across the region, all states remained ranked first or tied for first for year-to-date (January through August) average temperatures.
Warmer and drier than average temperatures continued for much of the nation in April.
These temperatures, when combined with the first quarter and previous 11 months, calculate to the warmest year-to-date and 12-month periods on record for the contiguous United States.
The globally-averaged temperature for May 2012 marked the second warmest May since record keeping began in 1880.
Most areas experienced much warmer-than-average monthly temperatures, including nearly all of Europe and most of North America.